2013 Zero XU Battery Problem, Possibly More. Seeking Help

General Discussion about large electric scooters and motorcycles and other things with no pedals.
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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by robby » Jun 02 2018 3:10pm

Right, but if supplying 12V directly doesn't get the dash to come on, then even if the DC-DC works, I wouldn't expect to see anything happen from feeding 116 into it. Unless there's something I'm not considering?

I don't have a '13 XU-specific schematic, but I've been looking these for reference:
https://zeromanual.com/images/8/8f/2016 ... ng_1-1.pdf
https://zeromanual.com/images/b/b4/Zero ... ighRes.pdf

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by eee291 » Jun 02 2018 3:41pm

Thanks for the diagramm.

I'm guessing based on the 2013 S drawing, that the CCU AND the Controller need to be powered for the screen to work.
The CCU's two Black and White wires will have to be connected to B+ and B-.

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by robby » Jun 02 2018 4:49pm

I'll double-check, but I think they are all connected at the controller. So the + and - contact points should cover both. What about the dotted white/black and dotted white/brown lines from the battery in the schematic though? Those go from the battery to an MBB port but I don't have any information on what voltage (or data signal) they are expected to carry.

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by eee291 » Jun 02 2018 4:54pm

I'm guessing those two wires communicate with the charger. which should be irrelevant for this test.

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by robby » Jun 02 2018 5:05pm

eee291 wrote:
Jun 02 2018 4:54pm
I'm guessing those two wires communicate with the charger. which should be irrelevant for this test.
If that's the case, I expect to see power given the wiring I've observed (unless something else is dead).

Someone else mentioned that the bike relies on a BMS signal indicating that all 28 cells are healthy. Could that be what those MBB lines are for? This is one reason why I'm weary of rebuilding the battery if the onboard BMS has failed. It could be a lot of work to get the bike to function without the BMS. Heck, at that point it basically means ripping out any CAN-based control systems, reprogramming the controller, and rewiring it as one would a DIY bike.

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by eee291 » Jun 02 2018 5:38pm

I checked your pics again and it looks like you have two 54V chargers chained in series which is 26S, 108V or 109.2V@4.2V/Cell fully charged not 116V. The Controllers maximum voltage is 116V. So I'd definitely test with some lower voltage. The min V seems to be around 80V.

I'm probably wrong though, maybe they are using 28S and only charging to 4.14V

Did you try reviving the cells yet? Just to see if it all works. I think that might be a lot easier

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by robby » Jun 02 2018 5:55pm

eee291 wrote:
Jun 02 2018 5:38pm
I checked your pics again and it looks like you have two 54V chargers chained in series which is 26S, 108V or 109.2V@4.2V/Cell fully charged not 116V. The Controllers maximum voltage is 116V. So I'd definitely test with some lower voltage. The min V seems to be around 80V.

I could be wrong though, maybe they are using 28S and only charging to 4.14V

Did you try reviving the cells yet? Just to see if it all works. I think that might be a lot easier
I'll try with slightly lower voltage.

I was hoping to revive the cells but it's a lost cause. I took off a few screws to open up the battery and the whole thing collapsed on itself from the pressure of the old cells (which are now very bloated) before I could get the rest off. Check here for photos: https://imgur.com/a/JnCPAK2

Look at the third screw from the bottom in photo #1. There was so much pressure that it literally cut through the steal, breaking apart the chassis.

Seems like every part of this project that I undertake leads to a new problem. :lol:

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by eee291 » Jun 02 2018 6:04pm

Well in that case could you completely disassemble it and measure the space inside?

If I was in your spot I would connect a string of used/sacrificial 18650's in series and connect the the balance and B+,B- wires to the BMS and plug it in just to test it.

Just like this guy did in this vid:

https://youtu.be/NukSXWpbBsE?t=3m10s

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by robby » Jun 02 2018 6:29pm

eee291 wrote:
Jun 02 2018 6:04pm
Well in that case could you completely disassemble it and measure the space inside?

If I was in your spot I would connect a string of used/sacrificial 18650's in series and connect the the balance and B+,B- wires to the BMS and plug it in just to test it.

Just like this guy did in this vid:

https://youtu.be/NukSXWpbBsE?t=3m10s
First thing I'm going to do is get those bloated Li-Ion cells into a fire safe :)

Your idea to test it is good though. I will see if I can locate some 18650s. For this test, I should connect all of the balance leads to that series string, right? Because if I connect only one of them the BMS will think the others have failed?

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by eee291 » Jun 02 2018 6:37pm

Correct, they all have to be connected to the BMS.

Also make sure to document everything carefully. For instance some BMS start measuring at B1 Because the Main B- is already connected to the BMS, but for some you have to start at B-. So make sure you understand exactly how everything is connected.

Good Luck
Last edited by eee291 on Jun 03 2018 1:49pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by fechter » Jun 02 2018 10:56pm

Bummer. Those cells are toast for sure. Might be good to try discharging them as much a possible at this point for safety.

Not sure about the display. Having a diagram would be helpful. I have no firsthand experience with those.
"One test is worth a thousand opinions"

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by amberwolf » Jun 03 2018 2:27am

If you haven't already, don't forget to check the fuses inside the harness. AFAIK there is one for the 12v system, and one for hte battery-level system, both heatshrinked into the harness itself, on the orange-covered wires. (might be different depending on the model year; I don't know what year the partial harness I have is from).

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by robby » Jun 03 2018 9:57am

@amberwolf I found one inline fuse within the 12V system and it was good. It was 5A, I forget what it sat between. Didn't see anything inline in the high voltage area but I will take another look.

I made some more progress opening the pack this morning. Removed the BMS. Photos here: https://imgur.com/a/QOpp0KE

One problem I am having is that the steel has deformed in such a way that removing it will apply a good bit of pressure on the cells. I'm uncomfortable doing this given how bloated the cells are. I would ordinarily lever the batteries away from the steel as I pull it apart, but there is very little margin for error and I don't want a lithium fire on my hands.

I was hoping to salvage the case, but now I'm thinking maybe I should just salvage the BMS. Serviceability is not this case's strong suit. I have removed over 100 screws, bolts, and nuts, and I'm not even all the way there yet. I can't see any way to avoid deformation during disassembly with cells in a state like this.

If anybody takes on a similar project, tools you will need for disassembly of this pack and BMS removal are:
* T10 torx bit (I recommend having a couple -- probably 90% of the screws are these)
* T8 torx driver (use a hand tool)
* T6 torx driver (use a hand tool)
* 3mm allen wrench
* 2.5mm allen wrench
* Pliers to twist off nuts where you don't have straight or right-angle access.

You can probably remove the BMS with just the allen wrenches. If you want to get to the cells, you will need to remove the entire BMS and positive contact anchor, as there are a couple torx screws under the board and the anchor doesn't have clearance to pull the contact through it.

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by eee291 » Jun 03 2018 10:41am

Don't worry about a fire. I couldn't bring a cell to ignite unless it was almost fully charged. And since your cells lie under 3V/Cell, there is no way to start a fire.

Also could you give us some measurements of the cell space?

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by robby » Jun 03 2018 11:37am

eee291 wrote:
Jun 03 2018 10:41am
Don't worry about a fire. I couldn't bring a cell to ignite unless it was almost fully charged. And since your cells lie under 3V/Cell, there is no way to start a fire.

Also could you give us some measurements of the cell space?
What makes you say that about a fire? Even if there were no voltage at all there is still a lot of potential in the lithium. I'm not worried about a short circuit causing heat; I'm worried about a puncture that would expose it to oxygen and vent the electrolyte.

Dimensions for cell space are 9.25" x 7.25" x 6.125".

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by eee291 » Jun 03 2018 12:15pm

Trust me. You can pry one loose and cut it in half and it won't burst into flames

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by eee291 » Jun 03 2018 12:23pm

Also I just measured some Lg Chem 15Ah Cells, and they seem a perfect fit for a 28S1P Battery, so about 1.5Kwh. You can get those cells from the Chevy Volt 8) . I have a bunch just sitting around, but sadly I live in Austria :x . I wish I can get the chance to rebuild a Zero Battery one Day.

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by robby » Jun 03 2018 6:04pm

Bad news. I got the rest of the pack open. The cells are all epoxied together, with the battery tabs and BMS monitor wires encased in it as well. I think only a few of my cells are bad but there is no way to replace them individually because they are glued into a single block. Additionally, there are torx screws going from the contacts to the steel case, again encased in epoxy. This is why the metal collapsed in some areas but held firm in others. To reuse the metal case, you would have to cut away the BMS harness completely and either dremel through the copper plates or cut away enough epoxy to remove six torx screws and dislodge the contacts from the metal case. I've lost hope in repurposing anything but the BMS. I'll post photos later.

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by robby » Jun 04 2018 6:30am

Photos of the epoxy encasing: https://imgur.com/a/Hf9QZj5

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by fechter » Jun 04 2018 8:03am

robby wrote:
Jun 04 2018 6:30am
Photos of the epoxy encasing: https://imgur.com/a/Hf9QZj5
That's ugly. It might be good to know exactly how the cells were abused to get puffed out like that (so we can avoid it in the future).

If the BMS is salvageable it should be possible to use almost any Li-ion cells if you can make them fit.
"One test is worth a thousand opinions"

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by robby » Jun 05 2018 7:02am

fechter wrote:
Jun 04 2018 8:03am
robby wrote:
Jun 04 2018 6:30am
Photos of the epoxy encasing: https://imgur.com/a/Hf9QZj5
That's ugly. It might be good to know exactly how the cells were abused to get puffed out like that (so we can avoid it in the future).

If the BMS is salvageable it should be possible to use almost any Li-ion cells if you can make them fit.
Cells were not abused in the slightest. I ride local roads, 35 MPH tops. This happened while the batteries were in the bike, plugged into the wall. This is why I am so frustrated that Zero won't offer me any option other than buying two new batteries at MSRP. The fact that it happened to both batteries at the same time screams system failure to me, but whether that is in the charger, CCU, etc., or just terrible luck with two bad batteries from the same batch is beyond me. If I can get power to the bike I will get the logs.

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by fechter » Jun 05 2018 7:48am

Is there any chance at some point the pack was left discharged for an extended period of time? Just curious.
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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by robby » Jun 06 2018 5:40pm

fechter wrote:
Jun 05 2018 7:48am
Is there any chance at some point the pack was left discharged for an extended period of time? Just curious.
Not really. There were extended times when I kept it in my shed (no power outlet), but I always checked it weekly and it never sat below 30%. The bike was bought from the factory as a demo so it's possible there was internal damage before I got it. But I'd expect the factory to take good care of them.

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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by fechter » Jun 06 2018 7:53pm

How much is a new battery?
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Re: 2013 Zero XU Won't Turn On, Seeking Help

Post by robby » Jun 06 2018 9:18pm

fechter wrote:
Jun 06 2018 7:53pm
How much is a new battery?
$3250/ea (and both of mine are dead).

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